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Old 10-19-2012, 15:24   #1
Jim1970
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Hard drive corrupt and dying; what are my options?

Hello,

My laptop hard drive is dying, and my netbook is at the tech place where they are saving my pictures, word docs, and excel docs. I loved that little Toshiba, and I am going to miss it!

Is there any way to get any more life out of a Toshiba Netbook once the hard drive is corrupt and DOA? Since it was a cheap investment, I don't want to throw a bunch of money at it. I am just curious if I could install my own hard drive, run LINUX on it, etc., etc. Or, is it simply time to take it to the range and put it out of its misery? Any helpful input appreciated!

Thanks,

Jim
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Old 10-19-2012, 15:33   #2
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If the hard drive is dead, you should be able to install a new hard drive and a new operating system. But if something other than the hard drive is also dead, it's range time.
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Old 10-19-2012, 15:38   #3
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Thanks for your response.

The tech guy offered to install a new hard drive and put a new operating system on it. However, I would rather do that myself as a learning experience - and I'm sure I can do it cheaper than he can do it!

So dropping in a hard drive is something the average Joe can do? I was wondering about the usefulness of putting in a Solid State Drive. I read some interesting reviews about this, but I'm just not sure it's worth the dough, given that it is a small machine. Have toyed with learning LINUX, wondered if this would be a good way to do that.

Thank you!

Jim
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Old 10-19-2012, 15:42   #4
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A solid state drive is nice because it can speed up the boot time, but they're expensive and low capacity. I wouldn't do it for your laptop, since it sounds like your laptop won't be around too much longer, since the hard drive died. Yes, the average joe can replace the hard drive, and you shouldn't have any issues installing the operating system. You don't have to pay someone else to do it, it's easy. There should be videos on youtube showing you how to replace the hard drive.
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Old 10-19-2012, 15:45   #5
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Okay ... feeling some confusion here.

You said you wouldn't do it for my laptop since the hard drive is dying. I am asking if I can drop in a new hard drive so that I can keep using the laptop. I would put in a new hard drive, then install a new operating system. I would have the same screen and keys and physical parts, but in essence a "new" netbook. Does that make sense?

Jim
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Old 10-19-2012, 15:47   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim1970 View Post
Okay ... feeling some confusion here.

You said you wouldn't do it for my laptop since the hard drive is dying. I am asking if I can drop in a new hard drive so that I can keep using the laptop. I would put in a new hard drive, then install a new operating system. I would have the same screen and keys and physical parts, but in essence a "new" netbook. Does that make sense?

Jim
You misunderstood, I said a solid state drive wouldn't be good for your laptop, since it might die soon. But that's more due to cost than anything. An average solid state drive is roughly $200, with like 100-200 GB of space. Where as a regular hard drive will be roughly $100-125, and will be closer to 750-1,000 GB of space. So my advice is to skip the solid state drive, and get a regular hard drive for your laptop.

Solid state drives are more for desktops, where you can have two hard drives. You would get the solid state drive for the operating system, to speed up the boot time, and then a regular hard drive for all of your data.
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Old 10-19-2012, 15:50   #7
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Yes sir, I did misunderstand. My apologies!

Thank you for your help.

Next question: say I buy a replacement hard drive and install it in the old netbook. Do I need an operating system on the machine before I install the new drive?
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Old 10-19-2012, 15:54   #8
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The operating system will go on the hard drive once you install it, you can't put it on your machine without already having a hard drive installed.
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Old 10-19-2012, 15:55   #9
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Thank you.

Last question: are the physical sizes of hard drives universal? If I specify that I am replacing the drive in a toshiba netbook, will I get one that physically fits the space?
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Old 10-19-2012, 19:03   #10
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You can go to Crucial's website and enter your make and model and see what kind of upgrades are available.

It will show you RAM upgrades, hard drives, and solid state drives available for your netbook along with prices.

You can then decide if it is worth it or not.
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Old 10-19-2012, 19:14   #11
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SSDs in laptops are great!
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Last edited by g29andy; 10-19-2012 at 19:15..
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Old 10-19-2012, 19:48   #12
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The issue with laptops is that they generally take a physical beating and at some point the motherboard and other hardware will die. For what a cheap hard drive costs, I consider it worth it to do just what you said, replace the HD and re-install and operating system. If you can get the original OS from Toshiba for free, get it. When I needed XP for my old desktop, Emachines no longer had it available since it was too old. Faced with buying a copy of XP, which is no longer supported, or linux for free, I went with Linux (Ubuntu).

I would get the cheapest HD you can find that is compatible with you machine. In all likelihood it will be bigger than the one you had. Installing Ubuntu is a walk in the park. Getting everything to work after the install will likely take a few nights scrounging help that is offered for free online. Part of this will be due to your inexperience, part of it will be due to the fact that Linux almost always needs a driver, or some other tweaking to figure out. I started out with Linux with zero computer knowledge. At this point I can solve 80% of the occasional problems myself and the ones I can't, I either find solutions by googling the problem or as a last resort ask on here ( I don't like to wear out my welcome having people hold my hand unless I absolutely need it). Most Linux issues are encountered by other people and the solutions are easily found on the net. You don't even need to know how you are fixing them, you just follow step by step instructions and then the problem is fixed. All of this is for free from people who like to help people like you and me. We think the solutions are a big deal, but to most of these people it's so simple they are probably playing two online games at the same time they are posting your fix for you.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:28   #13
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If you can get a cheap solid state drive go for it. The speed is great, and they are much more durable than the old spinningb plate (standard) drive. But I would only do it if you got it at a good price.

I also think google came out with their own operating system. I don't know if it is available yet, and I believe it is mostly cloud based computing. Meaning you will rely heavily on Internet connectivity for accessing files. Might be worth investigating though.
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Old 10-20-2012, 14:37   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WiskyT View Post
The issue with laptops is that they generally take a physical beating and at some point the motherboard and other hardware will die. For what a cheap hard drive costs, I consider it worth it to do just what you said, replace the HD and re-install and operating system. If you can get the original OS from Toshiba for free, get it. When I needed XP for my old desktop, Emachines no longer had it available since it was too old. Faced with buying a copy of XP, which is no longer supported, or linux for free, I went with Linux (Ubuntu).

I would get the cheapest HD you can find that is compatible with you machine. In all likelihood it will be bigger than the one you had. Installing Ubuntu is a walk in the park. Getting everything to work after the install will likely take a few nights scrounging help that is offered for free online. Part of this will be due to your inexperience, part of it will be due to the fact that Linux almost always needs a driver, or some other tweaking to figure out. I started out with Linux with zero computer knowledge. At this point I can solve 80% of the occasional problems myself and the ones I can't, I either find solutions by googling the problem or as a last resort ask on here ( I don't like to wear out my welcome having people hold my hand unless I absolutely need it). Most Linux issues are encountered by other people and the solutions are easily found on the net. You don't even need to know how you are fixing them, you just follow step by step instructions and then the problem is fixed. All of this is for free from people who like to help people like you and me. We think the solutions are a big deal, but to most of these people it's so simple they are probably playing two online games at the same time they are posting your fix for you.
I'll pretty much second everything you said. If you go w/ a popular distribution (Ubuntu is where I would start), you'll pick it up fairly quickly for average computing (surfing, email, chatting, etc..)

LOL, I love that bold part, because there is quite a bit of truth to that.

As for the hard drive install... I wouldn't use an SSD on a laptop that old. 2.5in platter drives in the 160-320gig can be had all day long for $50-$80. So if the laptop is worth that to you, then yes I would fix it. As for the actual installation of the drive.... if you have the mental capacity to turn a screwdriver, it should be no problem. Most newer laptops, it's simply a matter of removing two screws to expose the drive. The drive is probably screwed into a "drive cage" which might also have a screw or two securing it. Remove the cage, unscrew 3-4 screws that are holding the drive in the cage, and put your drive in the cage. Insert the cage back into the netbook, and replace the remaining screws.

It really is that simple.
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Old 10-20-2012, 15:00   #15
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Originally Posted by mace85 View Post
I also think google came out with their own operating system. I don't know if it is available yet, and I believe it is mostly cloud based computing. Meaning you will rely heavily on Internet connectivity for accessing files. Might be worth investigating though.
Chromium OS is fine, but it is way to early in it's development to recommend to a person new to Linux. If you buy a laptop/netbook w/ chromium OS... it comes with support. You install it on your own, and you have to find your support. Unfortunately since it's not a heavily used OS, finding support can be a little difficult. For that reason, I wouldn't go with Chromium OS.

I'd stick w/ one of the *buntu's if you're going to go Linux (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, or Lubuntu)

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Old 10-20-2012, 15:04   #16
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Excellent advice all around, but I have a couple of things to add. You said it's an old notebook, but didn't clarify "old" or provide a model #. So it may have a parallel (PATA) drive rather than a serial (SATA). You'll need to replace it with the same type.

You'll need a "notebook" drive, which is a 2.5" form factor rather than the standard 3.5". A standard 3.5" drive won't fit in the thin notebook case.
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Old 10-20-2012, 15:30   #17
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My gateway laptop is 7 yrs old and my hd took a dump. I bought a Crucial M4 _128g ssd on amazon for $110. I absolutely love it. Only problem i have is manually selecting TRIM due to having XP. If i understand TRIM, its is the method of erasing old data and preparing the area for new data. I was told it wasn't a huge issue . If i decide to update my hardware later to Win 7 compatible , my ssd is still usable by switching it over andjj reformatting it, but before fdisk ill backup everything to my portable hd ...

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Old 10-20-2012, 15:33   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyN View Post
Excellent advice all around, but I have a couple of things to add. You said it's an old notebook, but didn't clarify "old" or provide a model #. So it may have a parallel (PATA) drive rather than a serial (SATA). You'll need to replace it with the same type.

You'll need a "notebook" drive, which is a 2.5" form factor rather than the standard 3.5". A standard 3.5" drive won't fit in the thin notebook case.
That's a good point, for some reason I read it and thought the Netbook was the problem(which would obviously be SATA), now that I re-read the post, I realize that is not the case.
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Old 10-20-2012, 19:02   #19
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For my netbook I run Linux on an SD flash memory card without any hard drive. This lets the battery last a long time. It will work with a USB memory stick too. I also have a USB external hard drive which requires the use of to USB ports on my netbook because the power from netbook USB port isn't enough to power the hard drive. I use a USB Y-cable that came with an external DVD drive to do this. Through USB 2, the netbook runs about as fast as it did with an internal hard drive. A netbook can only run so fast, and is not as fast as a full power notebook. I don't think Windows will run from an external drive but Linux will. If using an SD card try to use a fast, "high speed" rated one and as much capacity as you want to spend. The flash memory, either SD card or USB, can have Linux "installed" normally or have it installed as a live CD / DVD. The same can be done with an external hard drive. Some knowledge of Linux is very helpful though. When travel through airports, often the contents of my computer system is inspected. I throw a "fresh" SD card running Linux in the card reader slot, so the one(s) with my personal documents isn't in the computer.
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Old 10-23-2012, 19:48   #20
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I picked up a Refurb 160GB WD HDD from NewEgg.com about a month ago for $38.00 shipped! Threw it in a laptop someone was going to throw away, and been running ubuntu on it since. If you get a Solid State Drive, and lets say the motherboard dies on the toshiba, you can always wipe the drive, and pull it for use as an external hard drive. Hard drive enclosures are pretty cheap nowadays, and some come with a rj45 for making the drive available on your home network
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